Over 100 law enforcement agencies are refusing to send officers to cover the Democratic National Committee security after the recent actions of Milwaukee officials. They are backing out of agreements.
A citizen oversight commission met last week and directed Milwaukee’s police chief to publicly account for why the department used tear gas during protests in late May and early June after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and to change Milwaukee’s police policies to ban the use of tear gas and pepper spray, according to the Chicago Tribune.
If he can’t account to their satisfaction, he’s gone.
The agencies mostly say their refusal is partly over their concerns about efforts to limit the use of tear gas and pepper spray in responding to violent riots.
Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the agreements were collapsing, saying he expects other agencies in the state to also withdraw. Lamb chairs the Wisconsin Police Executive Group, which is made up of police chiefs from cities with populations of more than 20,000 people.
“Our concern is that in the event protests turn non-peaceful, such a policy would remove tools from officers that may otherwise be legal and justifiable to utilize in specific situations,” West Allis Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher told the Journal Sentinel in an email.
Waukesha’s police chief said he was consulting with the city attorney’s office on how to withdraw from the agreement, which had promised about two dozen Waukesha officers.
Some officers said they are withdrawing over the pandemic. An “accelerating COVID-19 pandemic coupled with ongoing protests in Madison” had strained its resources, making it impossible to commit resources to the convention, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Maybe that’s the reason, maybe not.
The convention, scheduled for Aug. 17-Aug. 20 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, has been scaled down to a mostly virtual event, with only about 300 people expected to attend in-person.
IT’S THE COMMISSION, STUPID
In Wisconsin, Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva said, “It is apparent there is a lack of commitment to provide the Milwaukee Police Department with the resources it needs to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters, attendees, citizens and police personnel. I can not send personnel if they are not properly equipped or will not be allowed to engage in appropriate actions which would ensure their safety.”
Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson responded by indicating that his department would not be sending officers to event, saying, “I understand that use of chemical irritants and pepper spray is serious and those are to be used only when legally justified. But when you take that out of the continuum that doesn’t leave the officers much other than getting harmed or using deadly force and that’s not good for any officer or the public.”
The commission has put everyone off. The AP described it in an article:
The commission is one of the most powerful civilian oversight boards in the country. It’s responsible for the hiring, firing, and promotion of Milwaukee’s police and fire personnel as well as auditing internal investigations, independently investigating and monitoring citizen complaints and reviewing police and fire procedures.
What police officers would want any part of this?